This is related to event and interviews. Modify for your needs.

Editors always say, "Give me more cut-a-ways."

What is a cut-a-way? Rarely do you use all of an event. To change angle or leave out some material you "cut-a-way" to something relevant to the story, but not including the last shot. It could be as simple as a person's hands or something that they are talking about. CAWs also include material to make a story more interesting. Talking heads get boring very quickly unless the talker is very entertaining visually and verbally.

MTV and TV commercials have changed the language of film, tape and TV into a deluge of information both aural and visual.

The best and easiest time to shoot many CAWs is while you are there and shots are available. Most CAWs are only a few seconds long unless some event is developing. Even an important event will probably be cut into shorter pieces. So, a lot of different shots are better than long shots of the same thing.

Do you need two cameras or more to shoot CAWs? It helps, but it isn't necessary if you don't have them. When the camera is wide enough or on the audience, you can't tell what a person is saying. Unless the person is facing a different way or gesturing differently a wide shot gives relief to tighter shots.

A second camera that is on the opposite side of a person speaking can be worthless when it comes to editing. A person should face the same way to not confuse the audience. A camera straight on and then a shot form the other side will cut together better, but limits editing possibilities. Don't assume that violating the rules of editing will dazzle your audience. Once you learn editing language that most people do understand, you can bend the rules and get away with some violations. (Get "Bare Bones")

You can get CAWs from stock suppliers, the government, Chambers of Commerce, industry. Stock suppliers have to make a living and can charge up to $1000's per shot. The govt. usually only charges for the tape. NASA will lend you tape to make dupes. You have already paid for the shooting.

Tapping every source takes time and money if only for shipping and phone calls.

RIGHTS TO SOUND AND IMAGES. Ownership of a shot is critical. Stealing an image or sound can be taken seriously by the owner of the material. Many distributors require proof you have rights to every shot in your program.

Sound. You can often get a sound track and effects on location. Recording music does not give you the right to use that music. You can't use music off a CD or tape either without permission or paying.

For a demo edit you can use "stolen music" and shots, but don't show it for money or sell it or let anyone else sell it. When "borrowing" material, think about replacing it when it comes time to complete the show. Don't assume that you can hustle certain music or a crucial shot. Stock houses and music agents are not very generous.

If your story is in sympathy with the beliefs of a song's owner, you can sometimes get rights for nothing. Get it on paper. Getting by performer's agents can be a challenge. The agents usually make a percentage of everything used.

When recording music or effects, get long pieces and as clean as possible. It takes extra tape, but will save headaches later.

Do you know that the song "Happy Birthday to You" belongs to someone?

There is some stock music available for not much money that is not bad. Look in the video magazines.

Want to make a living selling stock footage? Better learn how to shoot good stuff first and then lug around a Betacam and follow a future Rodney King. .

© Copyright 1999-2004 Ron Dexter. All Rights Reserved.